The University of Maine’s women’s basketball team found its scoring touch on Thursday night.
The Black Bears, who entered the America East contest against the University of New Hampshire shooting just 25.3 percent beyond the 3-point arc, nailed a season-high 15 threes and pulled away in the second half to register a 77-51 victory at the Cross Insurance Center.
The 15 3-pointers are one shy of the school record.
UMaine improved to 6-9 overall and 3-2 in America East and the Black Bears supplied fifth-year head coach Amy Vachon with her 100th career win.
UNH absorbed its ninth straight loss and is now 3-11 overall and 0-3 in America East.
The Black Bears outscored UNH 49-29 in the second half after leading by six at the half.
UMaine shot a sizzling 62.5 percent from long range (15 for 24) in the contest.
Junior guard Anne Simon, the conference’s second-leading scorer, led the way with a game-high 22 points including a career-best six threes on seven attempts. She was one of four Black Bears with at least two threes. She also grabbed five rebounds and had a pair of steals.
Sophomore forward Caroline Bornemann set a career-high with four threes and tied her career-high in points with 16, sophomore guard Olivia Rockwood came off the bench and scored nine points on three 3-pointers, both career-highs, and freshman guard Bailey Wilborn hit a pair of back-to-back threes in the fourth quarter to snap an 0-for-19 drought from beyond the arc.
Freshman guard Paula Gallego scored eight points as did graduate student forward Maeve Carroll. Carroll also had four assists.
Sophomore guard Alba Orois from Spain set a school record for assists against a Division I opponent with 14. Dor Saar had 14 against Division III Husson University of Bangor in 2019 and Julia Treadwell had 14 against the University of New Brunswick in the 1983-84 season.
Bella Stuart’s 10 points and five rebounds paced UNH. Ivy Gogolin and Sophia Widmeyer netted eight points each and Amanda Torres scored seven. Widmeyer corralled four rebounds and Torres had three assists and two steals.
Helena Delaruelle chipped in with five rebounds and four assists to go with three points.
“We have been waiting for this game,” Simon said. “We hadn’t been making our shots. I don’t know what it was. But we have been working hard ever since we got back here in August and we finally proved we can shoot the ball.”
Simon said the team has always had good shooters and “tonight everyone shot the ball [well] whenever they were open. This should help us a lot. It should really boost our confidence.”
“Maine got back to their old ways, that’s for sure,” UNH coach Kelsey Hogan said. “We know what their ability is. We didn’t make those adjustments we needed to make in the second half.”
She added that Orois was able to “get into the paint a little bit too much” so when they collapsed on her, the Black Bear shooters on the perimeter were “wide open.”
Simon scored 12 of her points in the first half and Rockwood came off the bench to hit a pair of 3-pointers as UMaine used a 13-6 run to close out the half and build a 28-22 lead at the break.
UMaine used a 14-5 run in the third period to build a 42-29 lead with Bornemann hitting a pair of threes off Orois passes and Orois also feeding fellow Spaniard Gallego for a pair of baskets in the paint and finding Simon for a short jumper.
UMaine then closed out the quarter with a 12-4 flurry keyed by two Bornemann threes to sew up the win.
“We took good shots instead of bad shots and we found the open man,” Bornemann said.
UMaine got off to its usual slow start at the Cross Center during recent games, missing its first five shots to find itself trailing by four on two occasions.
Simon’s 3-pointer with 2:58 left in the first quarter snapped a string of 20 consecutive 3-pointers missed in the first quarter of UMaine’s last five Cross Center games.
Rockwood followed with her first 3-pointer to give UMaine a 10-8 lead at the end of the period.
Vachon said the best aspect of her 100th win is that assistants Courtney England, Tom Biskup and Parise Rossignol have been a part of the program in some capacity for all of them.
“That’s not common. Usually there’s some turnover,” Vachon said.
Simon said getting the victory over archrival New Hampshire in the “border battle” made it special.
UMaine shot 54.7 percent from the floor (29 for 53).
UMaine will next travel to Binghamton for a 2 p.m. Sunday game.